The Scouting Guru weighs in on the tough decision of naming a starting quarterback

The Scouting Guru has been all over the San Gabriel Valley and beyond, and like always, he’s offered to share his thoughts, free of charge. Don’t hate, enjoy it for what it’s worth, which is one man’s opinion on the talent and teams in the San Gabriel Valley and surrounding areas.

The Guru Says: In reading the comments on this blog after the first two weeks of football, you would think that it would be easy to pick a starting quarterback. Well as Lee Corso on ESPN would say, “Not so fast my friend.” First, you have the Charter Oak situation that will most likely not be clear by the time the league starts. Those were the words of head coach Lou Farrar after the game. Then there is the situation at South Hills where the Huskies have three really good QB’s and they are also working on the rotation system as well. What makes it more interesting is that one of them – Vincent Hernandez – is the best sophomore defensive back in the area…bar none!

So how difficult is it to make the right QB call…well I just picked up a great new book by Super Bowl winning coach Brian Billick called “More Than a Game.” These are his thoughts on picking the right QB for the pros.

“There are two ineluctable truths that one can never forget about the quarterback position. 1) It is the single most difficult position to master in the world of sports. No other position – not baseball pitcher nor soccer goalkeeper or basketball point guard – requires such a mixture of athletic skills, raw brainpower, functional intelligence and that ineffable something that Hemingway once described as “grace under pressure.” 2) It is the single hardest position to evaluate in all of professional sports. NFL teams, armed with three or four years of major college films, hundreds of pages of scouting reports, dozens of hours in Indianapolis, private team workouts, and personal interviews, will still miss routinely…Draft the right quarterback and everything else you do instantly looks smarter. Pick the wrong one and you can start working on your resume.”

Well in the SGV, pick the wrong QB and you get torched on this blog.

And you thought it was easy to pick a QB in the pros.


Like many of you, I was totally riveted by the USC vs. Ohio St. game Saturday night. It was great theater with an ending that Hollywood script writers would throw away.

As I was watching the game, I couldn’t help but remember what Steve Bisheff wrote about USC in his new book “Always Compete.” (BTW, another great book to read this week. He really gets inside the USC football program in areas that are not allowed. A great read)

In the chapter titled “Pete Profile, Oh no, He’s not perfect. He should have kept Norm Chow,” this is what he says about the Norm Chow time at USC. It’s pretty revealing.

“This might be the most popular criticism of all, and it, too, is difficult to defend from Carroll’s side. Some would contend OC Chow was the sole designer of the offense that, with Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush both in the backfield, might have been the most prolific in college football history in 2004-2005. That is hardly the case. Carroll retooled the offense after his first season on the job, scrapping some of the sort of dink and dunk passes Chow preferred for a stronger running game and a more vertical passing game. Once that was done, Chow proved a master at play calling, developing quarterbacks Carson Palmer and Leinart to Heisman Trophy winners and creatively taking advantage of mismatches opposing defenses could afford. USC was never better balanced on game days that it was when Carroll was running the defense and Chow was directing the offense from high in the press box. It is no coincidence that the rhythm and flow of the Trojan’s offense has gradually diminished each year since Chow’s departure. Carroll would argue otherwise, but as bright and promising as young coaches Lane Kiffin and Steve Sarkisian were, they weren’t Chow. The media critics aren’t the only ones who have noticed, either. Some of USC’s donors, including some who are considered the most important and influential, reportedly have brought this up in meetings with AD Mike Garrett. They have been told that, in lieu of the record, it is no big deal. Still, the bottom line is difficult to ignore. The Trojans have not won a national title since Norm Chow has left.”

Couldn’t agree more.

10 Things I Think I Think…

1) I think that former Glendora WR Wallace Gonzalez might have made a bad decision to leave football. This was very distressing news when I heard it. First off, Gonzalez was a kid that made our Top-25 recruits for the SGV/IE Regardless of Position for the Class of 2011 when the season started. He had a nice Nike Camp at USC and even Greg Biggins came up to me and asked me what I thought of the kid. Now, we’ve heard stories about Gonzalez’s temper on the sidelines. I have one really good authority who was on the sidelines for the West Covina v. Glendora game last year who told me that Gonzalez’s attitude was horrible In the fourth quarter of the game. Now, I will not get into stuff about the rest of the season that I heard from sources…because – quite frankly – it’s none of your business. And the Glendora football team handled his departure with class and dignity. Now, what makes Wallace’s situation with baseball a little tenuous is what I am hearing from baseball scouts….which is nothing. I had a chance to speak with a MLB West Coast Scout Cross-Checker Wednesday night who’s job is to know everything about California baseball. And when I mentioned his name to the scout, he was silent. When I asked what the problem was, it was simple. He thought he was a decent baseball prospect but nothing more. This is clearly a calculated gamble that he is making. From what we understand, he has an offer from the University of San Diego but once word gets out in the baseball scouting community about the events of Friday night, a lot of teams will no doubt balk on the kid. Which bring me to another point that was driven home to me the other day.

A) I had an area football assistant coach make a great point to me the other night. He said that he sees a bad trend going on in high school athletics. In his opinion (and one that I totally agree) there are too many HS athletes that want things now. I have to have my touches. I have to have so many amount of throws. Who cares if the team wins; if I have 10 catches for 110 yards…that’s great for my highlight tape. Couldn’t agree more. And their one fault for that…it’s many of you on the blog. You treat these kids as if they are Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson. You go on here after games and rip these kids as if they are professionals. Ripping coaches in one thing, but going on kids is another. It is high school sports folks. Maybe Jim Tressell the head coach at Ohio State said it the best the other day. When he was asked about all the heat he has been taking for his conservative play calling by bloggers, radio talk show hosts, he said, “When I read some of them I feel terrible for them because there’s no way they’re happy,” Tressel said. “They’ve got to be some of the most unhappy people in the world, and I feel bad because we just made them less happy, and I hate to be a part of making someone less happy. I mean, they’re already miserable.” Miserable…a great word to describe many bloggers on this site!

2) I think that each week we will be award game balls; one to the offensive side of the ball and one on the defensive side of the ball. The offensive game ball goes to Wilson HC Brian Zavala for winning his first varsity football game last Friday as head coach. He’s turning things around over at Wilson and it’s good to see good coaching happening in the area. No doubt that the dinner and refreshments felt a bit better after the game last Friday. Great job Brian.

3) I think that the defensive game ball goes to the secondary at South Hills High School. There aren’t a whole lot of schools in Southern California that can claim that their secondary had FOUR interceptions in one game. And when you consider that the four INT’s came against a quarterback who has been offered a preferred walk-on spot at USC; that should tell you how good the secondary was for the Huskies. Robledo’s favorite player Andrew Roddy had two, Geoff Vaughns had one and sophomore sensation Vincent Hernandez had one. And when you factor in that Miles Bevel was involved in a bunch of tackles at the safety position, it was a great night for the Huskies defense. So they all earn a game ball in my eyes. As Ayala HC Tom Inglima told me shortly after the game, “That is one heck of a secondary.”

4) I think that speaking of the Huskies, they will find out how good they are in the next two weeks. It starts Thursday night against a very formidable foe in La Habra who made La Mirada look like Mountain View HS last Friday night. Points will be at a premium in that game. Then they have Tesoro the next week at CDF on a Thursday night and Tesoro will be looking for blood after getting off to a bit of a slow start. These next two weeks are huge for Huskies fans.

5) I think that after that two game stretch, the baton is then passed over to Charter Oak HS. After this week, they will have a brutal three game stretch that could define their season. It starts with a Fox TV game against Rancho Cucamonga at home. Then it a meeting against Damien (and old foe Greg Gano) and then they will face a vastly improved Eitwanda team that could very well win the Central Division this year.

6) I think that Bishop Amat head coach Steve Hagerty will be just find this season. When news came out that Loyola RB Anthony Barr was done for the year with a broken ankle, it immediately gave Amat another win in my eyes. They will win this Friday against West Covina (no Amat fans, I’m not making that mistake this year) but the next three weeks get a bit more interesting with games against Damien, Diamond Ranch And St. Bonaventure. I say five wins for Amat this year and there Is no need for a search committee to be put together for a new HC. Hagerty will be just fine.

7) I think that I literally have no feel for the Diamond Ranch football team. They go out and defeat Muir in week zero and then follow that up with a loss to Colony. That wouldn’t distress me except that I saw Colony play in person against Los Osos two weeks ago and horrible wouldn’t be a strong enough word to describe Colony on offense. Just when you think you have it figured out….

8) I think that the Central Division will be really competitive this year. But it doesn’t have the strength as it did last year. The results from Friday night bear it out. Ayala gets thumped by South Hills. Vista Murrieta puts the hammer on Colton. JW North rushes for 400 yards as a team to overwhelm Los Osos. I think we could end up see Chino Hills take on Rancho Cucamonga in the final. But there is hope for Glendora and Damien if they get the right draw into the playoffs.

9) I think that the USC vs. Ohio State game was one for the ages. What a finish! I’ve been following USC football since I was a kid and that final drive was unreal. What a game!

a) And give it up to former Duarte star Mike Harris in helping UCLA defeat Tennessee in Knoxville last week. That was some finish too!

10) I think that I will look forward to seeing many of the Damien faithful at their home game Friday night against Claremont. I hear that going to a Damien game is a terrific experience. I look forward to being there for Gano’s first home opener.

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